For Mallory Holloway, precautions to avoid lung infections have been a part of her daily life for a long time. This is because she lives with cystic fibrosis, a rare disease that impacts the lungs and makes them more vulnerable to infections. She is a freshman at the Conrad Schools of Science and commits a lot of her time to maintaining the health of her lungs. Part of this involves daily therapies and medication, but she also keeps them strong by a consistent distance running regimen. With the looming threat of COVID-19, Mallory feels like many of the precautions the general public are taking are already part of her life.
About Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a type of genetic disorder which can have impacts throughout the body, but it is most characterized by the build up of abnormally thick, sticky mucus in the lungs. This mucus becomes a fertile breeding ground and habitat for potentially infectious bacteria. Many patients must take antibiotics for much of their lives. This disorder is caused by mutations of the CFTR gene. Symptoms of cystic fibrosis include progressive decline in lung function, lung and sinus infections, coughing up mucus, fatty stool, poor growth, infertility in males, clubbed digits, and digestive problems. Treatment includes antibiotics and medications or procedures intended to maintain lung function. Lung transplant is an option when lung function declines severely. Life expectancy ranges into the 40s and 50s with good care. To learn more about cystic fibrosis, click here.
Despite her diagnosis, Mallory has found success as a track and cross country runner. In fact, sometimes she feels as if she has stronger lungs than other people. However, when she has to take breaks from running, such as for special treatments, it doesn’t take long for her lungs to weaken. For Mallory, distance running is life itself.
In the meantime, Mallory has been adjusting well to life under coronavirus/COVID-19. In fact, she was already planning on moving to online classes when Conrad shut its doors because of the pandemic. Mallory’s mother Katrina says that the family, and Mallory especially, have been strictly isolating.
“I feel like I’ve taken all the precaution that I can really take so what happens happens and I’ll just fight through it if it comes up I guess.” – Mallory
Mallory’s daily treatments for cystic fibrosis include up to half an hour wearing an airway clearance vest and around six different medications, including Trikafta, which is currently the most effective medication available for the disease. The drug has definitely had a significant impact for her.
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